A N I N T R O D U C T I O N T O

PHONOLOGICAL ANALYSIS

  Stephen Marlett Summer Institute of Linguistics and University of North Dakota Fall 2001 Edition This is a working, pre-publication draft. Please do not quote. Please do not duplicate without written permission.

  

Revisions (including addition of new exercises and corrections) are made yearly.

  

Please inquire about the latest version. Earlier versions are no longer available.

steve_marlett@sil.org

  Copyright © 2001 by Stephen A. Marlett A N I N T R O D U C T I O N T O

  Table of Contents

  Preface .................................................................................................................................... iii

  Chapter 1 Introduction................................................................................................................ 1 Section 1 Morphological Rules Chapter 2 Word Structure .......................................................................................................... 7 Chapter 3 Suppletive Allomorphy .............................................................................................. 12 Chapter 4 Multiple Function Formatives ................................................................................... 29 Chapter 5 Morphologically Triggered Rules ............................................................................. 35 Chapter 6 Features and Natural Classes ..................................................................................... 40 Chapter 7 Reduplication ............................................................................................................. 44 Chapter 8 Word or Affix?........................................................................................................... 46 Summary and Review Questions for Section 1.................................................................................... 51 Section 2 Phonological Rules: Assimilation Chapter 9 Voicing Assimilation ................................................................................................. 55 Chapter 10 Choosing Underlying Forms...................................................................................... 61 Chapter 11 Place Assimilation (Nasals) ....................................................................................... 64 Chapter 12 Features in the Lexicon .............................................................................................. 71 Chapter 13 Feature Spreading ...................................................................................................... 74 Chapter 14 Constraining Rule Application................................................................................... 79 Chapter 15 Palatalization and Labialization ................................................................................. 83 Chapter 16 Nasalization................................................................................................................ 88 Chapter 17 Manner Assimilation.................................................................................................. 90 Chapter 18 Vowel Changes .......................................................................................................... 93 Chapter 19 Place Assimilation (Non-nasals)................................................................................ 99 Chapter 20 Dissimilation and the Obligatory Contour Principle ................................................. 104 Chapter 21 Miscellaneous............................................................................................................. 107 Summary and Review Questions for Section 2.................................................................................... 109 Section 3 Phonological Rules: Some Practical Procedures Chapter 22 Contrastive Features................................................................................................... 113 Chapter 23 Noncontrastive Features............................................................................................. 121 Chapter 24 Suspicious Pairs ......................................................................................................... 134 Summary and Review Questions for Section 3 ................................................................................... 136 Section 4 Phonological Rules: Structural Issues Chapter 25 Underspecification ..................................................................................................... 139 Chapter 26 Edge Phenomena........................................................................................................ 145 Chapter 27 Syllable Structure....................................................................................................... 151 Chapter 28 Syllable Structure Constraints.................................................................................... 156 Chapter 29 Linking Features to the Syllable ................................................................................ 160 Chapter 30 Stress-conditioned Processes ..................................................................................... 168 Chapter 31 Epenthesis .................................................................................................................. 170 Chapter 32 Deletion...................................................................................................................... 176 Chapter 33 Underlying Forms ...................................................................................................... 182 Chapter 34 Rule Ordering............................................................................................................. 188

  Summary and Review Questions for Section 4....................................................................................197

  Section 5 Phonological Rules: Suprasegmental Properties

  Chapter 35 Stress .........................................................................................................................200 Chapter 36 Introduction to Pitch...................................................................................................204 Chapter 37 Intonation....................................................................................................................206 Chapter 38 Tone .........................................................................................................................212 Chapter 39 Tone Rules..................................................................................................................214 Summary and Review Questions for Section 5....................................................................................222 Appendices Appendix A Features ................................................................................................................224 Appendix B Orthography Design .............................................................................................231 Appendix C Phonology Write-ups ...........................................................................................247 Appendix D Symbols Tables ....................................................................................................251 Appendix E Language Index and Source Information ............................................................253 Appendix F Open-ended Exercises ..........................................................................................261 Appendix G Glossary ................................................................................................................282 Appendix H Topic Index...........................................................................................................287

  

Preface

  Phonology is a broad topic of study and currently comprises many theories, each of which requires (at least) a course and a book for adequate treatment. This book is an introduction to phonology in general, and a very brief introduction to the ideas addressed by various of these theories, including generative phonology, lexical phonology, underspecification theory, autosegmental phonology, feature theory, phonemics, and CV phonology. We believe that each of these has contributed in a significant way to our understanding of language, regardless of how the theories themselves may fare in the future.

  We expect that some users of this book may not find these theories inherently interesting. Nevertheless, someone who wishes to use linguistic theory for practical problems (such as language learning, orthography development, literacy programs) will benefit from learning more about how languages work. Thus we encourage all to jump in and try to master each topic.

  The presentation of material in this book is different from many other books. Most importantly for those who are studying phonology in order to do field work, it does not present theory in the same order that one might apply theory. We know that not everyone approaches problems in the same way or in the same order. The book does not begin with the same kind of facts that usually first confront a linguist in a field situation. Nevertheless, after one has completed reading the book, one should have a clear idea of how to work in such situations.

  One of the major reasons for presenting material in the order chosen is that it allows us to present phonological detail in small steps. Many introductory books begin with phonetics and then lead the user through the morass of detail to graphically simpler levels of representation. But since many students are not well-trained in phonetics at the time when they take their first phonology course—or at least could use some review—we have opted to teach simple but not necessarily phonetic processes early in the course and postpone discussions of phonetic detail until after the general principles of phonological description and analysis are understood. Of course, this means that careful attention must be paid to helping the students apply the principles that are taught.

  The various interactive exercises included in the book refer to the end of each chapter where a suggested answer is provided (called ‘feedback’). The suggested answer is not meant to stifle all alternative solutions, but is intended as an additional teaching aid to the user.

  This edition of the book incorporates a section called Postscript for Teachers, which provides additional background and explanation that instructors may find helpful. We thank the help of phonology teachers, teaching assistants, and students at SIL North Dakota and others for their input over the years. These include Gayle Aasen, Anita Bickford, Steve Clark, Mark Datson,

  Margie Doty, Roy Eberhardt, Mary Huttar, Andreas Joswig, Mike Maxwell, Jim Meyer, Steve Parker, Steve Quakenbush, Jim Robertson, Amy Schondelmeyer, Doug Trick, Cathy Marlett, and Stephen Walker. All are absolved of responsibility for deficiencies that remain.

  Corrections and suggestions for further improvements are welcome and may be directed to: Steve Marlett, PO Box 8987, Catalina, Arizona, 85738-0987; or e-mail: steve_marlett@sil.org.

Chapter 1 - Introduction Human beings have an extraordinary and unique communicative ability. With a limited set of sounds, a

  The point is that we are being explicit about the position and organization of words in this language. Notice also that we are going ‘from the top down’, from the bigger units to the smaller units, from the phrases to the individual words.

  → very

  interesting A → pretty A → cute Deg

  →

  a A

  →

  dog D → the D

  →

  flower N

  →

  (4) N → work N

  The rewrite rules we have given above are part of the grammar (or syntax) of English. But we also need to tell what the actual words of English are. This is done through the lexicon. The lexicon is (at least) a list of words of the language, such as the following:

  speaker of any language can express an infinite number of sentences. This ability is extremely complex; in reality, we are still unable to characterize its nature with any degree of precision.

  This book is an introduction to one facet of human communication: phonology, the study of sounds and how they are organized and used in natural languages. Before jumping into the study of phonology, however, it is helpful to see a bit of the bigger picture in order to know how phonology fits in.

  →

  (3) NP

  We might even propose ways to combine these rules into one rule in order to show that they are related in some way. The parentheses in the rules shown in (3) indicate optional elements in the phrase.

  D AP N AP → A AP → Deg A

  →

  N NP → D N NP → AP N NP

  →

  (2) NP

  We might propose that a noun phrase is composed of at least a noun (N), or a noun preceded by a determiner (D) the, or a noun preceded by an adjective phrase (AP), or a noun preceded by a determiner and an adjective phrase. An adjective phrase consists of at least an adjective (A), or an adjective preceded by a degree adverb (Deg) such as very. The rewrite rules to describe these facts would be something like:

  (1) work the work interesting work the interesting work the very interesting work

  account of the syntax of a language, and it is not our purpose here to recommend one over another. A commonly used notation is the rewrite rule. For example, suppose we were trying to describe a language which had noun phrases (some longer, some shorter) such as the following:

  Syntax

Syntax has to do with the positioning of words. There are many ways in which one could give an explicit

  (D) (AP) N AP → (Deg) A The lexicon also contains lots of information about these words in some fashion or another, including pronunciation, meaning and usage. And the lexicon may actually be quite different in appearance or form than the kind of rules that were just presented. Those details are irrelevant here.

  If we combine all of the rules we have given so far, we can appropriately generate phrases such as: (5) NP

   D AP N

  [Produced by the rule NP → (D) (AP) N]

   Deg A

  [Produced by the rule AP → (Deg) A] the very cute dog

  Morphology

Morphology has to do with the structure of words. And just as with the positioning of words in a language,

  we need to be explicit about the order in which the different parts of a word go together. For example, it is part of your knowledge of English that the plural suffix -s must follow the stem of the word, rather than precede it.

  (6) dog-s

  cat-s tree-s stone-s a

  Each functional piece of a word is called a formative or, (almost) alternatively, a morpheme. The word

  

dog has one morpheme, the word dogs has two morphemes (dog-s), and the word editors has three (edit-or-

s

  ). In the next chapter we consider ways in which the structure of words may be described.

  Phonology

Phonology is the study of the organization of sounds in language. Our study of phonology looks at two

  major aspects. One aspect that we consider is the inventory of sounds that a language has. For example, English has sounds which do not occur in French, and vice versa. If one is studying a language that has never been analyzed or written down before, this is an important area of study.

  A second aspect we consider is the set of rules which specify exactly how each sound is pronounced and how sounds affect and are affected by the sounds around them. Understanding this part of language is also crucial for the design of writing systems for languages. It is also important for learning the language. Every language has internal structure and organization, regardless of the social position of its speakers, but until one unlocks the secrets, it may remain mysterious and seem difficult.

  Phonetics

Phonetics deals with the physical aspects of the sounds of languages, especially how sounds are articulated

  and perceived, but not how they are organized. A person trained in phonetics is able to transcribe words from virtually any language. This transcription is most often the basis on which phonological analysis is done, although acoustic studies may also play an important role.

  A couple of brief examples may help clarify the distinction between phonetics and phonology. A phonetic transcription of a language may include sounds that are similar to the t, d, th, and r of English, as well as other sounds. As a result of analysis, however, we may discover that there is in fact only one t-like sound phonologically in the language. The other sounds that we hear are variations of this one t-like sound. Consequently, it is likely that the alphabet of the language will include a single symbol to represent these sounds instead of four or five symbols.

  a

  Consider also the words vain and vanity in English, or the pair sane and sanity. The first word in each pair has the phonetic vowel (or diphthong) [ ] and the second has the phonetic vowel [ ]. If we were to GL

  3 write the words ‘scientifically’, then these are the symbols we should use, one might say. But these vowels, be what they may be phonetically, are typically referred to in traditional studies of English as ‘long a’ and ‘short a’, and often written as the letter a with and without a macron over the letters. This transcription is not phonetic—what does the letter a have to do with the phonetic transcription [ GL ]? However, the names ‘long a’ and ‘short a’ are important in that they point to a systematic correspondence between phonetic sequences which is fundamental to understanding the sound patterns of English. This correspondence is captured in the imperfect English spelling system by the use of the letter a for both the long and the short version, with an additional something added for the long version (the use of the silent e in sane and the combination with i in vain). Successful literacy programs in other languages also depend on similar knowledge of how the sound systems in those languages work—of their phonologies. Our understanding of these systems may begin with phonetics, but it does not end there.

  Key Concepts

  syntax rewrite rule morphology formative / morpheme phonology phonetics

  Postscript for Teachers

  The formalisms adopted for syntactic and morphological generalizations are not a major issue for our purposes. We are primarily interested in clarifying the distinction between and interrelatedness of the major components of formal structure. However, this chapter does introduce the rewrite rule notation, which is used extensively in the book. It also introduces the idea of developing explicit rules as a means to describe recurrent patterns found in language. It should be noted that we are embedding phrases within phrases. Therefore, it is important that the noun phrase be described as containing an optional adjective phrase, not an optional adjective.

  1.1 Try it for yourself with English

  Use the following rewrite rule and lexicon, in addition to the rules and lexicon found in the chapter, and determine at least eight good English phrases that may be described by them. (Check your answers with the

  1

  feedback section at the end of this chapter.) PP P NP

  →

  P to

  →

  P on

  →

  P → for

  1.2 Try it for yourself with Seri

  Examine the following rewrite rules and lexicon. Determine which of the phrases provided are possible and which are not possible according to the grammar of Seri. (Check your answers with the feedback section at

  2

  the end of this chapter.) PP → NP P NP → N (D) P → ano (“in”) P → iti (“on”) N xepe (“sea”) N hasaj (“basket”)

  → →

  D com (“the”)

  →

  To evaluate: (a) ano xepe (b) iti hasaj com (c) xepe com (d) com xepe (e) xepe com ano (f) iti com hasaj

  Feedback for Chapter 1

  1.1

1 Some possible answers: on the dog, on a dog, on the flower, to a flower, to work, for the flower, for work, for the dog, to the pretty flower, to the very pretty flower, on the cute dog.

  2

1.2 Seri

  (a) ano xepe (ungrammatical: P must follow NP) (b) iti hasaj com (ungrammatical: P must follow NP) (c) xepe com (grammatical) (d) com xepe (ungrammatical: D must follow N) (e) xepe com ano (grammatical) (f) iti com hasaj (ungrammatical: P must follow NP, D must follow N)

  

Morphological Rules

  In this section we show that it is important to account for every piece of every word in the grammar of a language. We introduce morphological rules—rules having to do with the structure of words and the shapes of morphemes in words. We also introduce some basic notions such as features.

  It should be noted that most of the topics in this section do not pertain to phonology per se, and so one may choose to begin with Section 2 instead if one has already had an introduction to morphology previously. Nevertheless, certain concepts that are helpful later are introduced in this section. These concepts may be reviewed by examining the "key concepts" box at the end of each section.

Chapter 2 - Word Structure Some words consist of only one formative (or morpheme), such as table. Others consist of several, such as

  disappearances

  (dis-appear-ance-s). If a language had only one morpheme in each word (and some languages may be almost like this), there would not be much to say about word structure in that language. But most languages do have combinations of morphemes in words, so rules specifying how the formatives may be combined are necessary. (Note: These rules do not tell us how we should make words and sentences; they tell us how we do make words and sentences. Don’t confuse these with the rules you remember from high school which told you not to use dangling participles, etc.)

  Just as there are many approaches to syntax, so there are many approaches to morphology, and there are many issues of importance. But any approach must specify the order in which formatives appear. We adopt here a fairly simplistic approach. For simple cases like dog-s, we write a rule such as the following:

  LURAL

  (7) N → N - P (A noun may consist of a noun and a plural morpheme.)

  The lexicon of English must then also include information about how the Plural morpheme is realized (the most common form being -s, of course). (This is discussed more in chapter 3.)

  For more complicated words, such as disappearances, we assume the following additional rules: (8) a.

  V N EGATIVE - Verb cf. dis-appear

  → stem a

  b. N V - N OMINALIZER cf. appear-ance

  →

  The rules in (7) and (8) are somewhat different in productivity. Most nouns can be pluralized, but most verbs cannot occur with the prefix dis- and most verbs cannot occur with the suffix -ance. But rule (8a) creates verbs from which rule (8b) can form nouns, from which rule (7) can form plural nouns. Given rules such as these, we see that words such as disappearances have a ‘nested’ structure like (9a) rather than the ‘flat’ structure of (9b).

  (9)

  a. N N Plural

  V Nominalizer Neg. V stem

   dis appear ance s

  b. N dis appear ance s Nevertheless, as long as we know the exact order in which the morphemes occur, we have the information we need for most of our present purposes.

  If one were looking only at simple English words, one would not understand well how other languages construct words. For example, one can take off each of the formatives from the word disappearances and find another word: disappearance, appearances, appearance, disappear, appear. This is not always the

  b c

  case in other languages. Consider the following example from Seri:

  a

A Nominalizer is a morpheme that changes some category of word (such as Verb, for example appear) into a Noun

(appear-ance). b

  (10) mayomazt s/he didn’t tattoo you This word is parsed as follows:

  (11) ma - yo - m - azt stem meaning tattoo Negative prefix Past tense prefix

  Second person singular direct object agreement prefix If we wanted to express a first or second person subject (I, we, or you), another prefix would occur between the direct object prefix and the tense prefix:

  mahyomazt

  (12) I didn't tattoo you The point here is that Seri is not like English. If we were to take off the prefix ma − , the resulting string would not be a possible word of Seri. If we were to take the stem azt by itself, or the stem plus any one of

  −

  the prefixes shown, the results would be nonsense in Seri. Nevertheless, all of this is not our real concern here. All that we want to know for our purposes is the exact order of morphemes, and a word structure

  rule (also known as a word formation rule), such as the following, suffices:

  (13) Verb → Direct Object - Subject - Tense - (Negative) - Verb stem

  d Agreement

  Agreement This rewrite rule expresses the fullest expansion of the verb shown in our data. It does not indicate that the

  e absence of overt subject agreement means that the subject is third person (although that is important).

  Practical Procedures

  Word structure is discovered by making morpheme cuts. One looks for the (largest) string of letters which regularly corresponds to a certain meaning. The nominalizing suffix -ance appears repeatedly in the following list of words, and everything before it is different. Therefore we can make a morpheme cut before

  f this string of sounds.

  (14) appearance

  defi anceutterance conveyance guid ance

  −

  An important aid in morphological and phonological analysis is the paradigm. A paradigm involves columns and rows of lexical material, where each column and row has some common element, such as a stem or a suffix. In the paradigm below, the first column is the form which the verb has in the present tense if the subject is first person, the second column is the form which the verb has in the present tense if the subject is third person singular, the third column is the verb in the past tense, and the fourth column is the

  

nevertheless, the difference between English word structure and that of many other languages is important to

recognize. All verb stems in Seri must occur with some affix; they are said to be bound stems. Most verb stems in

English are not bound stems. The morpheme demonstr- in English, however, must occur with a suffix: demonstr-ate,

demonstr-able. c The Seri words are italicized here since they are given in a non-technical orthography. d

  

Many languages include an affix (prefix or suffix) in the word to indicate the subject or direct object. These are

called ‘agreement’ affixes in this book. e

  

Some linguists refer to this absence of phonological material as a zero morpheme. We hesitate to do this in many

cases, although nothing important hinges on this matter in this course. f

  

The suffix -ance has a grammatical ‘meaning’ as a Nominalizer (it makes something into a noun). Some formatives verb in the present participle (the “ing” form). Each row is a different verb. (The English data are presented

  g

  here with phonetic symbols.)

  st rd

  (15) Present (1 ) Present (3 ) Past Present Participle

  fake

HGLM HGLMU HGLMV HGLM+0

  dip

F+R F+RU F+RV F+R+0

  nick

P+M P+MU P+MV P+M+0

  Any time a morpheme appears in more than one combination, a paradigm (however small or large) can and should be constructed to help in the analysis. The next step is to identify, as much as possible, the phonological material in each column or row that contributes the ‘meaning’ of that column or row. Looking across the first row above, for example, we can see that the morpheme fake is represented consistently through the paradigm by the string [fejk]. Looking down the first column, we can see that there is no phonological material associated with the present tense, first person. The phonological material associated with the second column is an [s], that of the third column [t], and that of the fourth [

  • 0]. We then make (tentative) morpheme cuts as shown below:

  st rd

  (16) Present (1 ) Present (3 ) Past Present Participle

  fake

  HGLM HGLM  U HGLM 

  V HGLM  +0

  dip

  F+R F+R  U F+R 

  V F+R  +0

  nick

  P+M P+M U P+M

  V P+M +0

    

Rule of Thumb : Going down a column which relates to an affix, try to keep as much identical or similar

  phonological material with the affix as possible. Going across a row which relates to a single stem, try to keep as much identical or similar phonological material with the stem as possible. If there is discrepancy or doubt, draw a circle around the sound(s) for which you have questions and keep your options open.

  We can then make note of the results by putting the individual morphemes at the top of the columns

  h

  and at the beginning of the rows. (We have written the suffixes with a hyphen before them.) (17) (no suffix) − U − V − +0

  HGLM

F+R

  P+M The combination of the morpheme { HGLM } and the morpheme {s} gives the form [ HGLMU ], as desired.

  Likewise, the other morpheme combinations give the correct surface forms (the forms which we are trying to account for). Sometimes the facts are more complicated, as we will see in later chapters. Nevertheless, the techniques for cutting morphemes are basically the same.

  g

The symbols used in this book are, for the most part, drawn from the set used by the International Phonetics

Association. h

  

One can only make hypotheses at this time since we don’t know much for sure yet; perhaps one column has two

suffixes rather than only one, or other facts will be brought to bear on the decisions, as we will see later. If there are

  Key Concepts

  word structure rule paradigm morpheme cut

  Postscript for Teachers

  When several inflectional affixes appear in the same word, such as in the Seri verbs in this chapter, approaches to morphology differ as to how they should be handled. Some approaches add one formative at a time, whereas others add them all at once, as in rule (13). This difference in approach is irrelevant to the issue here. All that we care about is that the various formatives be put in the right order.

  2.1 Try it for yourself with Walmatjari

  The data for this exercise are in Appendix F at the back of this book. These data contain a number of complications; nevertheless, you should be able to determine the word structure rule for nouns (which are

  3 inflected for "case") in this language, even by looking at only one noun.

  2.2 Try if for yourself with Manam

  Give a word structure rule for the following data and a list of the morphemes. (Check the feedback section

  4

  at the end of this chapter.)

  my father my hand

  1. V#O#IW

  6. FGDWIW

  your (sg.) father my eye

  2. V#O#0

  7. O#V#IW

  his/her father my breath

  3. V#O#

  8. Y#U#IW

  4. V#O#FK their father

  9. O#NQ0#OK0 your (pl.) voices

  5. V#O#OK0 your (pl.) father

  2.3 Now try it again with Selepet

  Give word structure rules for the following data and a list of the morphemes. (Morpheme breaks have been

  5

  given for you.) 1. my elder brother 5. your daughters

  #V#-PG D#4#V-NKR-IG

  my daughter your bow

  2. D#4#V-PG 6.

  VGDG-IG

  my daughters my house

  3. D#4#V-NKR-PG

  7. GOGV-PG 4. #V#-IG your elder brother

  8. GOGV-IG your house

  2.4 Try it once more with Manam

  Give a word structure rule (showing positions for the subject and object agreement affixes) and a list of the

  6 morphemes for the following data.

  1. I spoke

  5. I jumped

W-RKNG W-PQMW

  2. they spoke

  6. I saw them

FK-RKNG W-VG-FK

  I went they saw me

  3. W-N#MQ

  7. FK-VG-#

  they went I brought them

  4. FK-N#MQ

  8. W-D#I#-FK

  Feedback for Chapter 2

  3

  2.1 Walmatjari Word Structure Rule: Noun Noun - Case

  → stem

  4

  2.2 Manam Word Structure Rule: Noun → Noun stem - Possessor Morphemes: father breath

  V#O# Y#U#

  eye voice hand

  O#V# O#NQ0# FGDW

  IRST ERSON

  INGULAR OSSESSOR F P S P −

  IW

  ECOND ERSON

  INGULAR OSSESSOR S P S P − S ECOND P ERSON P LURAL P OSSESSOR − OK0 T HIRD P ERSON P LURAL P OSSESSOR − FK (The absence of overt possessor indicates third person singular.)

  5

  2.3 Selepet Word Structure Rules: Noun → Noun stem - Possessor Noun → Noun stem - Plural - Possessor

  (Some might suggest combining these using parentheses around “Plural”.) Morphemes:

  #V# elder brother

  VGDG bow GOGV house D#4#V daughter

  PG – F

  • IRST PERSON SINGULAR P OSSESSOR NKR P LURAL

  • – S ECOND PERSON SINGULAR P OSSESSOR

  IG

  6

  2.4 Manam Word Structure Rule: Verb → Subject - Verb stem - Direct Object Agreement Agreement Morphemes:

  RKNG speak PQMW jump D#I# bring

  VG see N#MQ go

  F -

  IRST PERSON SINGULAR S UBJECT

  W

  • T HIRD PERSON PLURAL S UBJECT

  FK

  IRECT BJECT

  • IRST PERSON SINGULAR

  # F D O

  HIRD PERSON PLURAL

  IRECT BJECT

  FK T -

  D O

(Actually, the appearance of the morpheme “di” twice in this list is artificial. Given the word structure rule,

it would be clear that the string “ ” is a prefix in one use and a suffix in the other, so “ ” could be glossed

  FK FK

  simply as T HIRD PERSON PLURAL . The use of a hyphen to indicate where the morpheme break occurs is a convention, not a formalism.)

Chapter 3 - Suppletive Allomorphy

3.1 Word classes

  Many languages of the world have their lexicons divided into classes of one sort or another. People who have studied or learned Romance languages know about ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ words. One fact of a Romance language such as Spanish happens to be that the word for ‘the’ which occurs before plural nouns has two alternating shapes: los and las. Sometimes one is correct to use and sometimes the other. One has to memorize that the word casas ‘houses’ takes the form las and the word hogares ‘homes’ takes los. It’s just an arbitrary fact of Spanish. A noun belongs to either one class or to the other.

  It is also very common to find that word classes such as nouns or verbs have subclasses with respect to morphology. For example, one group of nouns—especially body part nouns—might require an affix to indicate the possessor. Another group of nouns might never allow such an affix to occur on them. The lexicon of the language must include this information since we want to reflect the speaker’s knowledge about the words. A sample set of morphemes is given for Seri, where +Poss means that the word must occur

  a with a possessive prefix, -Poss that it never does, and +/ − Poss that it may or may not.

  (18) Morphemes

  hast

  stone − Poss

  tom money ±Poss caac

  nephew/niece +Poss

  lit head +Poss

  With this information, we understand why some words exist and some words do not exist in Seri, as shown below (nonexistent words are given with an asterisk before them).

  (19) Words

  hast

  stone *hihast (my stone)

  tom money hitom my money

  • caac nephew/niece hicaac my nephew/niece
  • lit head hilit my head The word hihast does not exist because the word hast is a –Poss noun and cannot take a possessive prefix.

  The words caac and lit do not exist because the roots in question are +Poss nouns and cannot occur without a possessive prefix.

  This is one type of morphological subclassification of roots; the roots are divided into groups based on whether or not they may co-occur with other morphemes. The particular type of classification illustrated in the examples above is very common: body part words and kinship terms often are the only words that may or must have possessive affixes in a language. One often sees the terms alienable class for words like stone, and inalienable class for words like head and mother, since the latter do not occur without the mention of the possessor in many languages. These classes of words do not line up exactly from language to language, however.

  Other times we find that we must posit classes of words to account for other facts. For example, consider the following illustrative words from Seri: (20) camiz shirt

  

hi-lit my head hi-camiz my shirt

   mi-lit your head mi-camiz your shirt i-lit his/her head i-camiz his/her shirt (21) hi-xiiha my older brother hi-quipaz my grandchild

  ma-xiiha your older brother ma-quipaz your grandchild a-xiiha a-quipaz

  his/her older brother his grandchild

  a

If the language uses the lack of an overt affix to indicate third person, the difference between +Poss and -Poss nouns

  Notice that there are two shapes each for the second person and third person possessive prefixes. With one class of words the prefixes mi- and i- occur, and with the other class of words the prefixes ma- and a- occur. When a formative, such as third person possessor, has two shapes, we say that it has two allomorphs.

  Allomorphs must be handled one way or another in the description of a language. If they are handled in

  b

  the lexicon, they are called suppletive allomorphs. If they are handled by the phonological component of the language, they are phonological allomorphs. The latter are a major emphasis of phonological theory and we look at them in the second section of this book. The difference between the two is fairly simple, and will be developed in the next few chapters. Suppletive allomorphy is essentially allomorphy which is a property of one morpheme, and for that reason is in the lexicon. Phonological allomorphy is something that is a property of the sound pattern of the language and is not limited to one morpheme.

  The lexicon must include some way to handle suppletive allomorphs. We might think of a lexicon as a set of rewrite rules that map from a semantic label, such as DOG, to the language particular form, as shown

  c below.

  (22) (English) DOG → dog (Spanish) DOG → perro (French) DOG chien (Seri) DOG haxz

  → → d The realizations of affixes could also be indicated by such rules.

  (23) (English) Plural → -s (Seri) 1st Singular Possessor → hi- (Seri) 2nd Singular Direct Object ma-

  →

  When a morpheme has suppletive allomorphs, both of these must appear in the rule. The Seri rules for second and third person possessor are given below.

  nd OSSESSOR ma

  (24)

  2 P → - with kinship nouns

  mi - elsewhere rd

  OSSESSOR a

  3 P → - with kinship nouns

  i - elsewhere

  The allomorphs mi- and i- were chosen as the ‘elsewhere’ cases since they have the widest distribution in

  e the language.

  In the Seri examples above, the word classes worked out fairly neatly: kinship nouns worked one way, and body part nouns another. This is not always the case, however. Often there are simply two or more arbitrary classes of roots, and some may be quite small. Consider the following English plurals:

  (25) Singular Plural

  dog dog-s cat cat-s cow cow-s deer deer sheep sheep ox ox-en

  The noun ox is one of the very few nouns in English which still pluralize with the Old English plural suffix

  • en (children and brethren are more complicated examples). The lexical entry for P LURAL in English must mention this small class of nouns, and also the class of nouns which have no suffix for plural. The lexical entries for the nouns of English must tell the class to which the noun belongs (if it is not in the ‘elsewhere’ class, at least).

  b

Morris Halle (1989) On Abstract Morphemes and Their Treatment (paper presented to the Arizona Phonology

Conference), refers to morphemes with suppletive allomorphs as abstract morphemes. c These are sometimes called spell-out rules. d

  

Although there is no linguistic reason to include hyphens with affixes in these rules, we will do so simply to remind

the reader that a given morpheme is an affix. But it is really not important. e

  

There are more non-kinship possessed nouns than kinship nouns. In addition, the allomorphs mi- and i- occur with

  (26) P LURAL → -en with class A Nouns:

  • cow with class B

  ∅

  • s elsewhere deer [Class B]

  ox [Class A] sheep [Class B] table etc.

  (You have probably thought of other words which don’t use the -s suffix. We discuss some of them in a later chapter.) It is appropriate that the -s allomorph is chosen as the elsewhere case in English. This allomorph occurs with by far the largest class of words (which class is in fact so large as never to be enumerated exhaustively as Classes A and B could be). It also is the suffix that people use when they have not learned the special lists of words which take the other allomorphs, as in the children’s speech form foots, rather than feet.

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